Economic Development Cowichan

Economic Development Cowichan (EDC) has hired a restart coordinator for a one year term aiding communities with plans of varying degrees. This can range from applying for grants to actively working on larger planning projects. The CBIA and Chamber of Commerce have had some great meetings with them. We are asking them for help to ask the Municipality for some accountability with regards to the revitalization plan and hope to re-institute an advisory style council with a refreshed group of local stakeholders dedicated to drive change. This is all very fundamental to the Town and the beginnings of some future changes. This is all very exciting but requires a sufficient amount of work to bring past information to the table along with the meetings and planning taking place/to come.


Chemainus small business employee attraction and retention

  • Local businesses in Chemainus struggling to attract and retain employees (as discussed in the Buy Local meeting)

  • Immediate need and urgency for businesses to be staffed in order for businesses to survive

  • Not a Chemainus only challenge, but for the Village of Chemainus the most immediate concern for Economic Development/Recovery

  • A trend that is not short-term, will only be exacerbated by demographic and housing affordability over time

  • Critical that this need be addressed for long-term survival of small businesses

  • Opportunity to provide resources to businesses

  • Particularly an information session, speaker series, with incentives, would be valuable

  • Virtual event, or in-person event if time allows – agreed that in-person would be preferable

  • Need brilliant speakers that businesses will want to listen to, impactful and charismatic

  • If in-person possible, potential to have swag bags, individual snacks, etc. to incentivize attendance

  • Hosting on a Monday when lots of businesses are closed

  • Business Week may be to tight a timeline, potential for the new year

  • Any grants available to pay for speakers, purchase honorariums, rent space, etc.

  • Work with Town of Ladysmith, Crofton, Duncan BIA – connect with Johnna and Andrea

Village of Chemainus revitalization

  • Actions and objectives of the revitalization plan from 2011 somewhat implemented

  • As time progressed the revitalization plan has become less of a priority for the municipality

  • Certain actions within the plan not realistic, relies on private developer actions which municipality has no control

  • Municipality developing the Bell McKinnon Plan, concern that economic development efforts will be focused there and not in Chemainus

  • Concern that Chemainus will be left behind in overall municipal Economic Development

  • Revitalization would support attraction of more small businesses to locate in the Village

  • Timberlands area not a realistic development; other larger initiatives have not been a priority (waterfront, etc.)

  • Consultation by municipality occurred in 2018 about the OCP, also consultation for active transportation, then have not heard anything further

  • Chemainus needs to have a voice in municipal development, opportunity to work with planners

Signage in and around Chemainus

  • Signage a challenge at the municipal, provincial, and federal level

  • Signage around Chemainus not relevant to businesses and attractions

  • Directional signs not useful

  • Signage is on municipal land, but municipality does not have funding nor capacity to update signs

  • Possibility for BIA to take on updating signs, but legally and logistically Municipality has not figured this out

  • Potential for a temporary sign permit that is renewed every year; language in the sign bylaw doesn’t allow for this (potential for different interpretation)

  • Previously working with engineering department and Chris (planner)

  • Chemainus BIA maintains three large billboards on the side of the Highway; these have been grandfathered in under Federal Transportation law

  • Billboards are on municipal land, previous agreement that BIA would be responsible for maintenance, agreement has expired but municipality very clear that BIA is the owner of these signs and must maintain

  • Can only ask for so much, because federal government could take away the signs

  • Provincial level the community has been designated as a Thoroughfare community (previously was not defined that way)

  • As a Thoroughfare cannot have as much signage along the highway (as opposed to Duncan, who can have more signage now)

  • Since being reclassed/designated as Thoroughfare, have seen drop in visitors, not signage to promote community on highway

One-off projects or initiatives ideas to bring in visitors to the Village

  • Grants available for outdoor community spaces

  • Grants for festivals organize a fall themed festival

  • BIA and Chamber could assist with funding

  • First Nations archway project currently in progress, potential to assist with that

  • Potential projects within the revitalization plan, any ‘quick wins’ that community can do, wouldn’t need municipality

Action steps:

  • Chloe to review signage bylaw and other signage legal documents

  • Emily to contact Andrea from Ladysmith Chamber, set up a working group for the speaker series

  • Chloe to review revitalization plan, potential to organize group of stakeholders to revisit and review the plan, then advocate for further development on the plan

  • Chloe to see if grant or funding opportunities for any of the above discussed